Dunning-Krugger, WYSIATI, Foucaultian Epistime, and Hegelian Geist

The world as it is understood by people. The cultural worldview of a time with the morés and knowledge of a people. In one sense, it is the full intellectual human person who in Hegelian progression evolves into another type of person. It is the most fundamental and whole idealist philosophical position. The idea of the geist, the epistime, and historical paradigm is almost completed by the inclusion of and their intersection with the limitations of human perception in social psychology.

It brings a physical reality to what had been a purely abstract field but as that physical reality is objectively true, it was inevitiable. That since the organic self-organization of human societies according to instincts has ended, those societies have come to terms with the fact that the artificial replacements don’t work socially. Up until recently, political philosophy dealt, primarily, in the marco social forces. The politics of the local was, more or less, guided by the psychologies of neighbors who organized themselves roughly pursuant to their instincts.

With the twentieth century with Robert Moses-style urban design and John Rawls’-style liberalism becoming dominant, the organic self-organization of human society was no more. Hobbes and Locke may have sparred over human nature but the life of the average farmer between 1650 and 1850 doesn’t change significantly and the community basically satisfies the social needs and an individual. It doesn’t matter what Locke and Hobbes think about psychology since psychology, for most people, is dealt with by the community.

Rawls’ philosophies’, perhaps, greatest failing, was their failiure to account for human psychology. For the first time in history, there was no community to satisfy those needs. He was working from Locke’s “blank slate” theory which had already been disproven by science. Rawls’ system doesn’t satisfy anything above the lowest tier of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, something science had figured out in the 1940s. The point is that any political philosophy in a world where the social structure must be artificial, in large part, must account for how it will balance neurotransmitters.

It is here where we get to the epistime, the geist, and those two cognitive biases. WYSIATI stands for what you see is all there is and it is a pervasive and, I would argue, horrific cognitive bias. It is when someone fails to account for variables and items they don’t know. It is the most evil cognitive bias ever because it is the literally opposite of empathy and the source of most ignorance of other people’s lives and struggles. It needs to die. As a Christian, I can say Jesus doesn’t hate many things but he hates, with a seething and raging passion, WYSIATI. Dunning-Krugger is almost the same and it has that those with a little knowldge, since they lack the ability to tell how ignorant they are of a subject, believe themselves an expert.

Combined, these biases have that the average person believes they have a comprehensive and realistic view of the world when they do not. The collective versions of these biases are the chemical manifestations of the epistime and most of the geist. For the most part; there are other facets of psychology in the epistime and the geist. On a collective level, these become the paradigm of a reality for a culture. One could say, geists and epistimes are the sociological analog to those psychological biases. This is important to understand because in order to shift the geist and the epistime, the historical paradigm, if you will, one must understand the connection of psychology to political society.

To use a rough and simple analogy, it is an uphill battle to have a more humane criminal justice system if true crime and crime shows are a popular genres and the most common criminals people are exposed to are serial killers and rapists. The geist is the culture being vigilant of a false belief about rates of violent and sexual crime and the epistime is the false knowledge of forensic psychology and criminology. The result is a fake reality that people live in, a constituent in a larger Hegelian paradigm of history. Normative debates are mostly useless to someone who lives in a fake reality. The aim cannot be to convert them through reason since the facts of their world aren’t true but through changing their reality.

Political change requires the social construction of a reality for average people. This war cannot be in the halls of congress or in protests since those don’t affect people’s reality. It must be for positive media. Kindness must pour from Hollywood, Nashville, Bollywood, and Orlando, and it must pour with scientific accuracy. It must focus on shifting the geist and the epistime. Political philosophy must regard psychological reality.

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